Friday, September 21, 2012

Picture Study - Peter Paul Rubens

Last year, we easily skipped Picture Study in our curriculum. But this year we have added it in and are trying to be consistent with it, especially as we delve deeper into integrating more of Charlotte Mason's methods into our homeschooling. We are currently studying Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640) for our Picture Study sessions. Rubens was chosen because he was alive during the time period we are studying in history and I find him really interesting. I know that CM does not necessarily recommend keeping all your time periods together, but this is something that we've chose to do.

To keep it simple, we are only using a couple of books to help us:

Story Lives of Master Artists by Anna Curtis Chandler gives a "before the story" biography of the artists and then a story of something from that artist's life, mixing history with narration. I like the way this book is set-up, giving just enough to inform the kids and interest them without overwhelming them. This book is out-of-print, but I found my copy at a used curriculum sale for $1, which is probably why it looks a bit abused but it's still quite the little gem.

Rubens (an Abrams art book) is a nice book of 16 large prints. The larger prints allow the children to get a good look at the paintings, instead of being limited to postcard sized photos. It also gives me a decent selection of paintings so I can choose what is appropriate for the kids to study. Additionally, the book gives a brief background and history of the painting, which is quite helpful for us when we want to compare it to historical events. There are probably other books out there on Rubens that are better, but again, I found this for a couple bucks so I wasn't going to be choosy.

I was also able to locate some Rubens paintings at some of the art museums not too far from us (Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Getty, and Norton Simon). This will be of great value for the children. We'll attend the museums later once we have delved deeper into Rubens' works. There's just something thrilling about seeing a painting up close of an artist you've become familiar with.

Some of Charlotte Mason's thoughts:

"There is no talk about schools of painting, little about style; consideration of these matters comes in later life, but the first and most important thing is to know the pictures themselves. As in a worthy book we leave the author to tell his own tale, so do we trust a picture to tell its tale through the medium the artist gave it. In the region of art as else-where we shut out the middleman." vol 6, pg. 216

"There are few subjects regarded with more respect and less confidence in our schools than this of 'Art.' Of course, we say, children should have their artistic powers cultivated, especially those who have such powers, but how is the question... We recognise that the power of appreciating art and of producing to some extent an interpretation of what one sees is as universal as intelligence, imagination, nay, speech, the power of producing words. But there must be knowledge and, in the first place, not the technical knowledge of how to produce, but some reverent knowledge of what has been produced; that is, children should learn pictures, line by line, group by group, by reading, not books, but pictures themselves. A friendly picture-dealer supplies us with half a dozen beautiful little reproductions of the work of some single artist, term by term. After a short story of the artist's life and a few sympathetic words about his trees or his skies, his river-paths or his figures, the little pictures are studied one at a time; that is, children learn, not merely to see a picture but to look at it, taking in every detail. Then the picture is turned over and the children tell what they have seen..." Vol 6, pg 213-214

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Book Review: There You'll Find Me

I recently read the book There You'll Find Me by Jenny B. Jones for the second time.

It's a wonderful book of Christian Fiction that inspired me. My lovely friend April David at Books 4 Juliet asked me to do a revisit blog post with her about this book, which we both loved so much. Just click on this link so you can check out our discussion and review of the book - There You'll Find Me Thursday Revisit.

The book is amazing and I highly recommend it!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Reading with my Preschooler

I've been using Teach Your Child To Read In 100 Easy Lessons by Siegfried Engelmann with my four-year-old (almost five year old). We took a break from it for a few months, but recently my son found it and requests doing the lessons multiple times a day. He is loving it and loving learning how to read.

I know that this book has mixed reviews. I have friends who couldn't stand it and others who liked it. I am one of the people who likes it. It is a simple format, easy lessons, and my son feels a sense of accomplishment.

Reading sentences in Lesson 28

We completed 50% of the book with my oldest son and 80% of the book with my middle son. My youngest seems very motivated, so we'll see if we can actually complete the book. But in any case, he is enjoying himself and enjoying reading, so that makes me a happy mom.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Jenny's 2011 Fun Read Wrap-Up

During 2011, my love for reading was rejuvenated. My family had been encouraging me to find a hobby, and so I did (although now they may regret the suggestion, LOL). With the help of some fellow book-lovers, I had a seemingly-endless supply of well-recommended books. Now mind you, these are just pure fun-reading, free-time books, nothing to do with parenting or homeschooling.

In 2011, I was like a kid in a candy store, just grabbing whatever caught my eye, predominantly in the young adult genre. Some books were better than others, and I'm beginning to discern which books draw me more than others, which books are more appropriate for my preference and discretion levels, and which books just aren't for me.

Below are the books I read in 2011, starting with the most recent and ending with what I started the year with. I've starred books that I found to be particular standouts, some of which have become favorites.

*98. Flat-Out Love by Jessica Park

97. Holes by Louis Sachar

*96. Legend by Marie Lu

*95. So Over My Head by Jenny B. Jones

*94. Pure by Jennifer L. Armentrout

*93. I'm So Sure by Jenny B. Jones

*92. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

91. All I Want For Christmas Is You by Lisa Mondello

*90. Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare

*89. East of Eden by John Steinbeck

88. Possess by Grethen McNeil

87. Enclave by Ann Aguirre

*86. Half-Blood by Jennifer L. Armentrout

*85. Daimon by Jennifer L. Armentrout

*84. Touch by Jus Accardo

83. A Map of the Known World by Lisa Ann Sandell

82. Fateful by Claudia Gray

81. Stealing Heaven by Elizabeth Scott

80. Goddess Boot Camp by Tera Lynn Childs

79. Sweethearts by Sara Zarr

78. Desires of the Dead by Kimberly Derting

*77. The Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa

*76. There You'll Find Me by Jenny B. Jones

75. Falling Under by Gwen Hayes

*74. Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

73. Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

72. Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

71. Oh.My.Gods. by Tera Lynn Childs

*70. So Not Happening by Jenny B. Jones

69. Silence by Becca Fitzpatrick

68. Bad Taste in Boys by Carrie Harris

67. Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick

*66. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

*65. Blood Red Road by Moira Young

64. Hush Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

63. Infinite Days by Rebecca Maizel

62. Shift by Jeri Ready-Smith

*61. The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting

60. Wildefire by Karsten Knight

59. Fins Are Forever by Tera Lynn Childs

58. Always a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough

*57. Reason to Breathe by Rebecca Donovan

56. Summer's Crossing by Julie Kagawa

*55. We'll Always Have Summer by Jenny Han

*54. It's Not Summer Without You by Jenny Han

53. The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa

52. The Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa

51. Winter's Passage by Julie Kagawa

50. Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink

*49. Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire

48. Cryer's Cross by Lisa McMann

47. Enchanted Ivy by Sarah Beth Durst

46. The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

45. Forgotten by Cat Patrick

*44. Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken

*43. Supernaturally by Kiersten White

*42. Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

*41. The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han

*40. Die for Me by Amy Plum

39. Gone by Lisa McMann

38. Fade by Lisa McMann

37. Wake by Lisa McMann

36. Shade by Jeri Ready-Smith

35. Once a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough

34. Everlasting by Angie Frazier

33. Moonglass by Jessi Kirby

*32. Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier

*31. Divergent by Veronica Roth

30. Tempest Rising by Tracy Deebs

29. Ballad by Maggie Stiefvater

*28. Delirium by Lauren Oliver

27. Illyria by Elizabeth Hand

*26. Forever by Maggie Stiefvater

25. A Room with a View by E.M. Forster

24. Uncommon Criminals by Ally Carter

*23. Heist Society by Ally Carter

22. Linger by Maggie Stiefvater

21. Shiver by Maggie Steifvater

20. Forgive My Fins by Tera Lynn Childs

*19. Hourglass by Myra McEntire

18. Lament by Maggie Stiefvater

*17. Gregor and the Code of Claw by Suzanne Collins

16. Gregor and the Marks of Secret by Suzanne Collins

15. Gregor and the Curse of the Warmbloods by Suzanne Collins

14. Gregor and the Prophecy of Bane by Suzanne Collins

*13. Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins

*12. Into the Gauntlet by Margaret Peterson Haddix

11. Storm Warning by Linda Sue Park

10. The Emperor's Code by Gordon Korman

9. The Viper's Nest by Peter Lerangis

*8. City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare

7. Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury

*6. The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan

5. The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan

4. To the Nines by Janet Evanovich

*3. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

*2. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

*1. Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

I'm looking forward to exploring more books in 2012 :)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Book Giveaway: End of the Year Madness

Book Obsession is having a great book giveaway. This is a great time to check it out and find some fun reading for yourself to start the new year with. Just click the button below:


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Black Chasm Cavern

While visiting Volcano, California, we toured the Black Chasm Cavern which is a National Natural Landmark. The last time we toured here, Bode was a baby and had to stay back with grandma, so it was fun to have the whole family along. This was also my parents first tour, so that was an added treat. It is nestled in Amador County in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. This area is also surrounded by gold rush country, so there are many other historical landmarks to visit.

We went on the walking tour, which lasted a little less than an hour, and was the right amount of time for the kids. Our tour group consisted of the seven of us and another couple. Our tour guide was great and with our small group we felt like we were getting a personal tour.

The caverns are amazing (and very cold). They include stalactites, stalagmites, flow stones, "cave bacon", "cave straws", an underground pool, and the largest collection of helictite crystals in the world, which are what the caverns are famous for.

Heading down to the first room: It had stalactites, stalagmites, and a column, along with some other very cool crystals. Some of the larger stalactites and stalagmites had been cut out by previous explorers of the cave before it became a National Landmark, but we could still see how large they had been.


Heading further down: We were able to see down to the underground pool, which quite far down. The guide estimated that the pool was 60 feet deep. From the steps going down we were able to see all the way down to the pool and up to the ceiling of the cavern.

Zoomed-in view of the underground pool

Lastly we headed into the large Landmark Room. This room included a huge collection of helictite crystals, which is what the caverns are famous for. The helictite crystals are formed by pressure. Normally caverns don't have anywhere near this amount of helictite crystals. Helictite crystals are only found in 5% of all caves. This is the largest collection in the world. The collection was quite fascinating to see so close-up.

Part of the huge room

Flow stone - looks like ice cream

Look at all the helictites

Helictite close-up

Landmark room ceiling
We couldn't hang out in the cavern without some family pictures.

Family fun

Grampa & Gramma

The boys in front of the helictites.
Heading back out of the cavern we got a different view of how large the cavern was.

Black Chasm Cavern was a great visit for our family.

Christmas Countdown Chain

At the beginning of the month, the boys made a Christmas Countdown Chain. These ring chains are fairly common. But thanks to an idea in our Christmas Adventure series we're using, we added scriptures to each day. The kids enjoyed putting the scriptures on the rings. Then each day they cut a ring off (each boy has his own color) and read the scripture out loud. It just adds one more spiritual aspect to the month, keeping the focus on Jesus and God's word as they eagerly anticipate Christmas.

All we needed was: construction paper (3 colors for 3 boys) cut into strips, Bible scriptures printed and cut out (or you could handwrite them on each chain), glue sticks, and staples/stapler (we used green ones - more festive). Simple yet effective. The kids enjoy the scriptures on these rings everyday.

The boys are hard at work :)

Ta-Da! Let the countdown begin!